The Other Side

Gen Con was a lot of fun. There was a very small turnout for the LARP panel, but us panel members are considering a proposal from the audience to start our own podcast/Google+ meetup thingy that people can listen in on (I am not up to scratch on what exactly Google+ can do yet). We’re all very busy, so I’m not sure it is going to fly, but it would be neat to have a LARP roundtable of some kind, especially one that is friendly to woman voices.  What do you guys think?

I did a bunch of silly things while I was there besides paneling. I larped both Shadowrun and Legends of the Five Rings, and brought back some fantastic art that we’re having framed right now. I’m a much bigger fan of Gen Con than I am of San Diego Comic Con. There, I said it! SDCC is valuable for industry work and for rubbing elbows and hobnobbing, but to really let loose and be a true nerd I found Gen Con to be much more appealing. No one there was posing. Everyone was super nice and friendly, and there were no panic inducing mega crowds screaming for Transformer or My Little Pony toys.

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Also, I was so in love with this D&D drider that I snorked in giggly ecstasy right as the picture was being taken. Lolth and I go way back. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is her. We’ve had a love/hate relationship for probably more than a decade now. If a Drizzt movie ever gets made, I would sacrifice at least five Illithids to be on the writing staff.

When I got back we finished up the Seekers Unlimited Kickstarter. We were funded, and right on the heels of finally receiving our official 501(c)3 status! And we ended only $500 or so from our stretch goal of $10,000. As the fundraising coordinator, I’m very relieved. There were many people that went above and way, way beyond to make this kickstarter successful, most of all our Director, Aaron Vanek. So thank you all, and a special hats off to Aaron. I’m so excited that we finally have a solid budget to work with, and now that we have our non-profit status I can start doing some grant writing.

Tinker, however, didn’t make it’s Kickstater goal this time. I think our audience really loves us, but just has a bit of fundraising fatigue. It happens. It’s not going to kill us and the production will go on. One of the main characters, Lady Cushing, was recast, and Julienne Davis (apparently she was in Eyes Wide Shut, but I must ashamedly admit I’ve never seen it), who was playing a different character has moved into the role. As follows, I am now taking her previous role–which I’m not sure yet I can say what it is? It’s probably not a big deal, but it’s always better to keep your mouth shut. Anyway, did some test footage, and have been in and out of the studio a fair bit recently.

tinker

I also had a handful of heinous writing deadlines to meet, both professionally and for my PhD program. Like, six deadlines. And I met them. It was not fun. Not at all, but I made it through. There were a dark couple of days where I considered the reprieve breaking my hand might give me, but ultimately decided against such drastic measures. I somehow managed to pull all A’s and not have any peer reviewers yell at me yet (though I’m sure that’s coming), but I think next time I will not set myself up to be in such a position.

At the same time I’ve also been helping to retool the script for ADAM 8. Writer/producer Sean Williams and his assistant Jay Taylor recently came down to my place in San Diego and we had a day long hash-out session. I had a lot of fun, but Sean probably wanted to kill me. In all honesty though, he’s great to work with and I love being on the project. I’ve been glued to the script, working the hours away. I probably need to slow my intake of Monster drinks though.

adam8

I finally have a bit of a break for a few weeks until next quarter starts. I decide to get an ultrabook because I was tired of lugging an eight pound brick with a two hour batter life up to Santa Barbara and back once a month. I got a really good deal on it and it’s going to help me get more writing done. It’s a beautiful machine. Here it is with the light reading I’ve got to get finished before class starts.

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I’m really looking forward to African Diaspora Traditions. Any professor that puts Maya Deren on the reading list is a friend of mine. I am also looking forward to Wyrd Con, which is coming up rather quickly. I’ll be NPCing for both Cantina Far, Far Away–a Star Wars LARP–and Masquerade in the Mirrored Hall, which is a 1930’s mafia romp. I’m not sure what else I’ll be playing, but it’s likely I’ll probably be mostly preoccupied with the academic panels. As always, in the fray of things tweet me @the_strix. I look forward to hanging with my fellow Wyrd people, some of whom it’s been a year since we’ve seen each other!

Going forward my speculation is that I’ll likely be involved with an academic census project, actually getting around to writing that short for Crackhorse Productions, hunting for grants for Seekers Unlimited, and tinkering with the call for submissions for Pacifica’s literary journal. Oh, and of course, school. That should be enough to do for the next couple of months.

That’s No Moon!

I wanted to share a couple of things I’ve come across on the web over the past month.

First, there’s a New York Times article about two of Pluto’s moons getting named after Greek mythical figures, both from the underworld. Pluto is one of the many incarnations of the god of the underworld that most of us know as Hades. Hades is arguably one of my favorites from the Greek pantheon, and I was very pleased to see that these scientists chose to stick with this chthonic theme. The first moon is Kerberos (or Cerberus), the three-headed guard dog of the underworld. He’s had pretty recent incarnations in storytelling such as Fluffy in the Harry Potter series. The second is Styx (sometimes spelled as Stix, not to be confused with Strix, two totally separate myths), which is the name of the river of the dead. Pluto already had a moon named after the ferryman that paddled through the Styx–Charon. Pluto also possesses Hydra and Nyx. Please remind me never to visit.

The second thing is this amazing non-profit I came across called the Traditional Cultures Project. They work in indigenous cultural preservation, a subject close to my own heart. I did a lot of preservational work during my time in Ecuador, mostly recording myths and trying to get my head around the Kichwa language well enough to help preserve some of it before it goes extinct. I would love to go back out and do more fieldwork like this in the future, and I’m glad others are taking the initiative as well. Please consider supporting these guys and projects like them.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a picture I took at Comic-Con of a giant LEGO drow:

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Yeah, I guess it was kind of fun.

Oh Gosh, I’m Just Not Catching a Break

So the Kickstater campaign for Seekers Unlimited surprise launched early on us. Today. We’ve been working really hard on bringing innovative education to under-served children in the Los Angeles area, but we need help. Please help us get the word out, and donate to this amazing organization. You will totally feel really good about yourself.

Seekers Unlimited currently develops and implements educational live action role-playing modules in the subjects of math and science. We’ve been working with kids that the school system has already largely turned their backs on, and the results have just been simply amazing. We want to expand what we offer, and make it more accessible to teachers all around the United States, and the world.

And guys, this is really breakthrough stuff. You can actually SEE the moment a kid gets it when they’re learning through one of our scenarios. Their little light bulbs just crack to life, and it’s the most amazing thing in the world to watch. These are kids that in their intake interviews are saying that there’s just no possible way that they can learn percentages or fractions, and then by the end of it they’re running a simulation of their very own multi-national music label. And they love it.

This is very, very important to me. In fact, it’s so important that I totally freaked out making the Kickstarter video. It’s almost painful for me to watch. I’ve never been that nervous shooting anything before, ever! So please excuse the twitching and word stumbling.

If you have any questions about it feel free to ask me personally and directly. Go donate! Tell your kid’s teacher about it. Tweet and Vine and whatever it is you do to get the word around. This is the beginning of something great.

Super Quickie

More news. Looks like I’m going to be sitting in on the panel “The United States of LARP,” moderated by the wonderful Lizzie Stark at GenCon. I’ll be alongside a few other really stellar leaders from the LARP community who I can’t name yet because it hasn’t been officially officialized and whatnot, but I know most of them and they’re awesome. If you’re going to be at GenCon this year and you are even remotely interested in LARP, you are going to want to catch this panel. It will be on Sunday at 11:00 AM. Mark it on your calendar now because GenCon gets crazy!

Also, I will have an IMBD page coming soon! I know, finally, right? Look for the little yellow icon up there in the right hand corner next to the other ones when it goes live.

That is all. NOW BACK TO WRITING.

P.S.
Eventually I’ll get around to actually talking about things that are interesting instead of just blasting my schedule at you, I promise. So please subscribe by clicking that orange button up at the top right there. Thanks, you’re a champ.

Stop and Breathe

I don’t have time to go into anything in detail, but I have a few things to announce and to chat about.

Firstly, what have I been doing? Writing, writing like crazy. I have four research papers coming due at Pacifica Graduate Institute, plus two (well, as of tonight, three) for publication. Yikes.

Over the next few months I will be authoring or co-authoring academic publications through:
The WyrdCon Companion Book
-The new journal being produced by the International Association of Comparative Mythology
-and a gaming and education anthology book with title yet to be released

I also just found out that I’m going to be co-editing next year’s Literary Journal for Pacifica Graduate Institute, but fortunately that is way far off.

Additionally I’ve been going over scripts from the ADAM 8 project and working on a short of my own!

Just this week I completed filming on the Crackhorse Productions short “High Speed” and reel footage for the Tinker Steampunk Series. I also broke my toe kickboxing. So there’s that.

Secondly, here’s what’s coming up in July:
Unfortunately, I had to cancel my RTX appearance, in which I was going to be sitting in on several panels about play theory and character psychology. I’m super bummed that I’m going to miss out, but the rest of my awesome team will still be there presenting, among them Sarah Lynne Bowman, my mentor and a kick-ass American LARP scholar. The panels should be streaming live, so don’t miss it!

However, I will be at both Gam3rCon and San Diego Comic-Con, at the same time magically somehow. That will be July 18th-21st. At GamerCon I will be helping with the Starship Valkyrie LARP, as well as running the Seekers Unlimited cocktail party. At Comic-Con I will be attending the LARP panel being run by friend and fellow Seekers compatriot Aaron Vanek, and maybe I’ll try to take a few seconds to have a good time. Say hi if you’re in the neighborhood! The best way to reach me while I’m running around doing these things is through Twitter. I’m @The_Strix.

Did I miss anything? I hope not. Catch you later!